Student's Powerful Photo Series Brings Attention to Gun Violence in the Media
There are many forms of activism in today’s society. Some activists march, some activists tweet and some activists take their art and use it as a platform to speak on relevant social issues.
Nathan Croslin, an Old Dominion University junior and photographer, has recently released a provocative series bringing light to the promotion of gun violence in the media.
Croslin began photography nine months ago while starting a brand with a friend which required a lookbook.
“I picked up a little point and shoot camera and started taking pictures, after a while people were like, ‘Can I get a pic,’ and after that it just grew,” Croslin said.
The idea for his recent series, referred to as “The Gun Series,” stemmed from a video shoot Croslin was involved in that had a scene depicting someone being robbed at gunpoint.
“I looked at this scene so many times like, ‘this would be a crazy series,’ especially with all the police brutality going on now. It just would be a crazy series to show that anyone could be a victim at any time,” Croslin said.
The more provocative scenes from the series feature two people, one with a gun and one without, depicting the moments leading up to violence. In these shots the shooter is displayed in black and white, an idea that came from something Croslin observed within present day society.
“I feel like we’re immune to people being killed, especially because of what’s happening in the media. We look at TV, we play ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ we see people being killed and we’re like, ‘that’s okay.’ I feel like when it comes to media and killings we’re immune to it, desensitized even, so I desaturated the colors to give that feeling,” Croslin said.
Croslin’s goal of this series was to bring light to relevant social issues. While police brutality served as an inspiration for the series, Croslin pulled more from the media’s use of violence as promotion.
“I feel that we use weapons and violence to sell so many products, but we refuse to see the correlation between media and actual violence. Many people build their life off of popular culture and if violence is normal in our media it will become normal in our everyday live,” Croslin said.
Croslin has high hopes for his gun series and the impact it has on society.
“My main goal of ‘Gun Series’ is I want it to get to a point that it’s everywhere. Like ‘this is on CNN right now’, ‘I’m traveling here to speak on this,’ I want to be to a point of being known where people seek knowledge, they begin to ask questions,” Croslin said.
With a thriving photography scene emerging on Old Dominion’s campus, Croslin sets himself apart by putting that love of social activism into his work as a photographer.
“Social activism isn’t something you see often in photography. I’m not a fan of shooting models, I’m not a fan of surrealism, I like realism,” Croslin said.
Croslin isn’t stopping his social activism pieces at gun violence, though. He currently has more series in the works and plans on releasing one in the next three months. The subject matter will remain unknown until each series is released.
“It’s another series coming, I’m trying not to ruin anything. Put it this way, people will get hints, I have a few prints I’ll be giving away at an art show, but aside from that I’m keeping it under wraps,” Croslin said.
Croslin will be one of the artists featured in the “Black Art Matters” showcase at ODU on Oct. 20, where these mysterious prints will be available.